The Causes And Complications Of Kyphosis


Kyphosis is a spinal disorder in which the spine will be curved outward excessively. The back of the person will be forward-rounded and is common in older women. Kyphosis is sometimes called “round back” and in severe cases, it is called “hunchback.” Age-related kyphosis can happen due to the weakening of the spinal bones, resulting in their cracking or compression. Let us see some of the causes and complications of kyphosis.


Causes of Kyphosis 

The bones that make up our spine look like cylinders that are stacked in a column. Kyphosis materializes with the vertebrae present in the upper back turns wedge-shaped. As per the experts in free women’s health clinics and low-income clinics, Kyphosis can be caused by:


Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis can lead to bone loss and curvature of the spine, especially if weakened vertebrae lead to compression fractures. Osteoporosis is commonly seen in people who have used corticosteroids for very long times.


Fractures: Crushed or broken vertebrae can lead to the curvature of the spine. If the compression fracture is mild, it will not result in any noticeable symptoms or signs.


Degeneration Of Discs: Soft discs are present between the spinal vertebrae and they act as cushions between the vertebrae. These discs can dry out and shrink with age and this can worsen the problem of kyphosis.


Scheuermann’s Disease: This is a disease that starts at the growth spurt occurring before puberty. This disease affects boys more than girls and can result in kyphosis.


Birth Defects: Spinal bones might not develop properly before birth and this can result in kyphosis.


Syndromes: Certain syndromes like Marfan syndrome and Ehlers Danlos syndrome can lead to kyphosis in children.


Cancer: Spinal cancer can weaken vertebrae and can result in compression fractures. Compression fractures and kyphosis can also be the aftermath of certain cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation.


Complications of Kyphosis

Apart from back pain, kyphosis can also result in:


Breathing Issues: Severe kyphosis can lead to pressure on the lungs, which can result in breathing issues.


Digestive Problems: When kyphosis is severe, it can put pressure on the digestive tract, leading to problems like difficulty in swallowing and acid reflux.


Limited Physical Functions: Kyphosis can result in the weakening of back muscles, which can make it difficult to walk and get out of chairs. The curvature in the spine can also result in pain while lying down.


Body Image Issues: People suffering from kyphosis can have a poor body image due to the rounded back and for elderly people, poor body image can result in social isolation.

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    About the Author

    Dr. Ghassan M. Al-Jazayrly, MD

    A graduate of University of Aleppo Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Al-Jazayrly or, as he is colloquially known: Dr. AJ, is an oncologist and hematologist of a Complete Care Community Health Center (CCCHC) with more than 36 years of experience. In recent years, he’s been involved with a non profit organization known as Every Woman Counts (EWC) which provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations in order to eliminate health disparities for low-income individuals.

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